Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Q&A: Bradford DeVine

Full disclosure: Bradford DeVine, the narrator for “Out Here In Kansas,” is my uncle.
Is he qualified to do this? Let me put it this way: Uncle Brad was a regular voice-over and actor in television commercials and shows before I even met him. He and my mother, and their sister, were orphaned and went their separate ways at a young age. By the time I met him, I was maybe 10 years old. (Imagine what was going through my head when the bartender from the “Riunite on Ice” commercial was standing in our living room.)
While he’s still a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Uncle Brad has done so much more than acting. He’s a true Renaissance Man. He speaks several languages, he’s a gifted writer and he’s even good with woodwork and building projects. Still, the acting thing is what fascinated my brother and me. When your uncle is on “Miami Vice” in the 1980s, that kind of trumps his ability to carve a cigar box.
Then … we discovered Uncle Brad was an extra in “Caddyshack.” He’s in several scenes, most of them involving following around Rodney Dangerfield. He was uncredited, which drives my brother and I absolutely insane. Caddyshack is a classic. It may be the most popular comedy ever. Uncle Brad has patiently answered our dozens of questions about Caddyshack over the years, but we’re always left with the feeling it’s a much bigger deal to us than it is to him.
Of course, that drives us even more insane.

Uncle Brad, thank you so much for narrating oufim. What made you want to be part of “Out Here in Kansas?”
Adam, as you know, I have been out of the acting business for some time now, but I wanted to do something for your obviously important documentary.

Your voice has been of great use in many of your professional endeavors. How would you describe it?
Well, Adam, one of my theater directors once told me that the little old lady in the balcony could hear me and understand every word. That said, I have been hired on projects that I was not perfectly suited for physically, but my voice got me the job. Go figure.

You’ve always had family here in Kansas, but have lived in other parts of the world. What do you think is the biggest misconception outsiders have of Kansas?
I believe that most people who live in other parts of the country think of Kansas as "waving fields of grain," and don't really know much about the state beyond that.

You’ve done so many things in your professional life, and at one time you had a highlight tape of your commercials and television shows. How important was acting to you?
I sort of fell into the acting field when I arrived in Florida and my next-door neighbor was a film director. Like you, he made documentaries and promotional films. He invited me to be in one of his films for Fisher Island, and it sort of took off after that. At first, it was a nice way to make money and have fun. Then I discovered that I really enjoyed the lifestyle, and continued for many years. 

What do you remember about being on the set of “Caddyshack?”
Caddyshack was so long ago I don't remember too much of it except Bill Murray was a HOOT and Rodney was, well, Rodney.  They would give him the script, and then he would just do Rodney.  I remember it was one of the most fun shoots I ever did.

You did have one speaking line in "Caddyshack." Can you give me your best guess what it was?
I haven't a clue what the line was.  It has been more than 30 years and I have said so many thousands of words since then, I suppose I would have to watch the movie again. I know you and Jeff have watched it, so maybe you know better than I. If you do, let me know. 
(Editor’s note: The line comes after Rodney uses his “no, no, yes” contraption to help him sink a putt. Uncle Brad can clearly be heard saying “Very good, sir!”)

Do you get tired of Jeff and me asking you questions about Caddyshack?
Yeah, enough about Caddyshack, okay? No offense!

Fair enough. Your most recent movie was playing a judge in 2008's "Recount." What do you remember about that experience?
I really enjoyed portraying Justice Wells. He sent me a note on Supreme Court stationary saying that he was glad I was playing him, because I was so much better-looking. What can you say to that? It was great working with Kevin Spacy, Bob Balaban, and others, and of course the director, Jay Roach. 

I don't think I've ever seen you sit still long enough to watch a movie. Are you a movie buff in any way?
I do enjoy movies.  Some of my favorites are “Charade,” “From Here To Eternity,” all the Harry Potters, “The Great Escape” and “Giant.” As a member of SAG, I receive copies of the new releases so that I can decide which ones to vote for at the SAG Awards. I usually watch them all, at least for a few minutes. Some are real stinkers, believe it or not, and go on to win awards.  (Michael Keaton's latest, for example).  But who am I to judge?

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